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Old Otliensians 1st XV 19 pts vs Wetherby 1st XV 6 pts


It is still a mystery why Wetherby have not yet won in the League as they possess one of the strongest packs and some of the most inventive backs, and on Saturday they contributed to a excellent open flowing game at Chaffers Field.

It was Wetherby who opened the strongest, utilising their creative fly half to set in train a series of well constructed back moves, enabling their wingers to probe down the flanks, and only good covering prevented an early score.

The game ebbed and flowed, with both sides being constructive in the contact areas, and the Ensians having the better exchanges at the line outs. As the game settled, the Ensians began to counter the Wetherby attacks with a series of quickly tapped penalties, and from one close to the home 22, Birch set off on a mazy run to half way, he was supported by flanker Markus Keinhorst who sprinted away from the defence to give an inside pass pass to centre Shaw, who touched down wide on the right.

The Wetherby scrum half began to initiate some telling breaks, but unlike the previous Cup defeat, the Ensians defence soon closed him down, and the Wetherby attacks became less potent as the half progressed.

The Ensians are themselves beginning to show their handling capability and another fine break from the 22, delivered Lee O'Donnell the space on the left wing to dash 50 metres beating his man, drawing the full back and feeding the inside pass to Arbuckle, who scored for Foster to add the extras.

Wetherby again came back and forced a penalty to reduce the deficit to 12 - 3, then followed the best move of the day, with the whole Ensians team sweeping the ball from left to right and back again over 70 metres, which ended with Matt Tenniswood going over in the corner after the ball had moved through more than a dozen pair of hands, alas the referee deemed a final forward pass.

This galvanised the away team and they came back strongly to force a second penalty, to leave the half time score at 12 - 6.

Wetherby continued to battle strongly throughout the 2nd half, but it was the Ensians who were on the front foot, showing their supporters just what potential their is within the side, and from a perfectly executed pattern of play, the defence opened from an inside ball for Markus Keinhorst who scored for Foster to again convert.

The game still flowed and Philpott was unlucky to be dragged down near the line after a further bout of Ensians inter passing, but Wetherby were always dangerous, never giving up their own fluid style of play, but to the credit of the Ensians, the defnec again showed its metal, not conceding a try again in a league game.

Ensians remain in a solid second place in the league, and with three home games to take them up to the half way point in the season, there is a very positive outlook from all at the Club.

 

WETHERBY 2 nd XV 20 pts v Old Otliensians 2nd XV 31 pts

Wetherby began strongly in this Merit Table game but it was the visitors who scored first when wing Richard Cuff picked up a loose ball following a ruck on his own 22 m line and blasted his way through the opposition to score .

The Ensians improved steadily as the half progressed keeping the ball alive with some good passing movements. The forwards put strong pressure on the home side pack in the tight with Tom Twist, Ross Myers and Dave Beardsley taking several balls against the head. However without a recognised lineout forward they struggled for good ball from this phase but did in fact spoil much of the Wetherby possession.
The inside back combination of Phil Purnell at stand off and Joe Robinson and Andy Bower in the centres began to develop a good understanding.

Purnell ran a miss move to Robinson near the 22m line who ran on, sold a glorious dummy to Bower and scored. Shortly after, Bower took a short ball from Purnell, cut inside dummied to Robinson to score. A fourth try for Otliensians in the first half came when Andy Allman at NO.8 finished off a good team handling move which started in their 22.Wetherby added one try and with Ben Newall converting two tries Ensians held a 5 - 24 pts lead at the break.

Shortly after half time Rob Gray replaced the injured Allman in the back row and soon made his mark on the game. From a ruck the ball went to Purnell who then gave a wide pass to Gray to score; Newall converted. There was some strong tackling from Newall, Bower and Dan Ridgeway in particular with Andy Causer at open side covering the park well. Darren Hall played well at scrum half and his quick thinking in taking tap penalties kept Wetherby on the back foot.

After the set backs of recent weeks this really was an excellent team effort with Joe Robinson " man of the match".
 

Old Otliensians 3rd XV 15 pts vs Heath 3rd XV 15 pts

Otliensians were soon on the attack and scrum half Peter Boultby kicked a penalty in the opening minutes. Heath began to use their pack to drive at the Ensians but some good tackling kept the line intact and the home side soon took play to the visitors line and Boultby almost scored in the corner.

The Ensians forwards were holding up well in the tight but found it difficult to stop the wheels imposed by Heath. In the lineout the short ball was always under pressure but Ray Drake managed some clean ball jumping at four. However , on 22 mins rather against the run of play the Heath backs who had some midfield pace broke away on the left to score and convert. Skipper Jim McDougall had to leave the field temporarily with a shoulder injury at this point. Heath were in the ascendancy at this time and scored again on 28 mins. For the rest of the half play was in midfield with the Ensians making too many basic mistakes and at the break they were 3 -12 pts down.

In the early stages of the second half both sides struggled to gain an advantage but steadily Heath began to get on top by virtue of tidier ball. However , Ensians stuck to their task and progressed to he Heath line. A good scrum ball 5 m out went to stand off McDougall whose determination to penetrate the defence earned him a try which Boultby converted. With 3 mins to go , Heath extended their lead with a drop goal and then almost on the final whistle Tony Collins charged down a Heath clearance kick to score and draw the game.

The pack benefited from the return of Mark Copping to the second row for his all round experience and scrimmaging ability.

 

On Saturday the 1st XV entertain Sheffield Oaks at Chaffers Field in a League Four game; note the switch of venue . The 2nd XV have a Merit Table game against Morley 3rd also at Chaffers Fields and the 3rd XV are away at Morley 4th. All kick offs are at 0215.


Report supplied by the coach, Gary Walker.

appleyr@bigfoot.com